Proper manners are as important online as they are offline.
Netiquette is a term derived from the words “Internet Etiquette” or “Network Etiquette” which describes the use of proper manners and behavior online. Internet Etiquette should be used in all areas of electronic means including email, chatting, blogging, forums, message boards, and so on.
It is important to treat others with dignity and respect both on and offline. The following are basic Internet tips and suggestions to provide a pleasant and safe online experience.
- Read the forum or blog’s rules and guidelines before posting for the first time.
- Search the other posts to see if your topic is already covered.
- Use a meaningful title for your thread.
- Do not use a forum to promote your product, service or business.
- Stay on topic.
- Be civil. Personal differences should be handled through email or IM and not through posts displayed to everyone.
- Ignore spammers, respond to them personally and not through the board, or report them.
- DON’T SHOUT: No matter what forum, writing in all capital letters is considered SHOUTING and is considered very rude. A word or two in caps is fine, but shouting is not recommended.
- Think Before Posting: It is important to note, what is posted online today, may come back and haunt the writer tomorrow. That silly or fun photograph posted on a social networking site, may keep that person from getting a job later on. Many colleges and employers are now searching social networking sites prior to hiring.
- Do not submit a post that requires readers to download a large attachment. Either explain the attachment or, better yet, provide a link to the information.
- In order to be understood by most people, use correct spelling, grammar and avoid slang unless you know the word or phrase will be understood by other members.
- Do not double post (post the same message twice in one thread) or cross post (place the same message across several forums).
- Act in a give and take manner; help others as often as or more than you ask for help.
- When replying to a post, do not quote more from the previous post than you have to.
- Do not post new problems on someone else’s thread and interrupt a topic of discussion.
- Do not use someone else’s thread for a private conversation.
- Most forums prohibit warez, cracks or illegal downloading of software and similar topics.
- Pay Attention to Language Issues: Improper, inappropriate or bad language may get a participant kicked out or permanently banned from a forum or group. It is also important to remember people from other countries may be participating in the conversation and language barriers may be an issue.
- Watch your sense of humor, posts may be read by people from a variety of backgrounds and ages.
- Do not use a huge and annoying signature, a modest signature is fine, moderators may remove large ones anyway.
- Do not post any information that you want private. Posts should not contain personal, identifiable information or content embarrassing to others. Posting private and personal information in the wrong location can have serious consequences. Identity theft is a rapidly growing concern. Divulging too much information could give predators and those with bad intentions valuable information. Be careful where personal information is posted. If private information is posted in a group setting, read the guidelines prior to posting. Children should not post private information online.
- Do not post content that violates a copyright. This is theft.
- Do not post ”empty” or useless responses, such as just ”lol” or ”cool.” Only post responses when you have something to contribute.
- Write concisely.
- Do not use words like ”urgent” or ”important” in your subject line, be patient.
- Do not chastise newbies. Be patient and helpful with others. Remember, everyone was a newbie once.
- Be Aware of Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying or electronic bullying continues to be an increasing problem. Parents should talk honestly and openly to children about the issues of electronic bullying. Studies suggest most children do NOT tell a trusted adult if they are a victim of electronic bullying. If targeted by a cyberbully, do not respond. Keep all ORIGINAL correspondence, with dates and times if possible. If the messages are of a threatening nature or safety is a concern, contact local law enforcement as soon as possible.
By following these simple and straightforward guidelines, the online experience will be enjoyable and safe for everyone.
- 25 Forum Posting Etiquette Tips
- Suite101: Top 10 Netiquette Guidelines